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1977's Atomic Mass featured Rick Savage on bass, Pete Willis on guitar and Tony Kenning on drums. Newcomer to the band Joe Elliot wanted to play guitar but ended up as the lead singer.
The group decided they needed a new name so settled on "Deaf Leopard". This was a pet name od Elliot's from high school. They didn't want to look like punk rockers so settled on Def Leppard leaving out the a like Led Zeppelin did.
They practiced their art at an old spoon factory and added guitar player Steve Clark in January 1978. Frank Noon stood in for Kenning on the 3 song the Def Leppard EP.
BBC Radio DJ John Peel liked the group and pushed the song "Getcha Rocks Off". Sales of the EP were hot with radio listeners wanting to get their hands on the latest rock. In November 1978, Rick Allen became their full time drummer. Rick was all of 15 years old when he joined Def Leppard.
Def Leppard became the champions of New Wave of British Heavy Metal and had loyal fans throughout the UK. Record companies looked hard at Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. EMI eventually signed Iron Maiden and Phonogram/Vertigo signed Def Leppard.
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Def Leppard released their 1st album in March of 1980. On Through the Night went to the Top 15 in the UK and had appeal for the American audience as well. Some Def Leppard fans were disenchanted that Def Leppard were leaving their roots for commercial appeal in the US. "Hello America" fell under particular criticism and US tours with AC/DC, Pat Travers, and Ted Nugent did little to appease these fans. There was even an event where Def Leppard was tossed garbage.
Robert John "Mutt" Lange took notice of Def Leppard and decided to produce High 'n' Dry in 1981. His influence is particularly notable in On Through The Night.
The next Def Leppard release failed to amaze in the in sales but got the attention of MTV. "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" was one of the 1st heavy metal videos and attracted US fans. Touring with Ozzy Osbourne and Blackfoot didn't hurt their image either.
Girl guitarist Phil Collen replaced Pete Willis in 1982. Rumor has it that Pete had a drinking problem. He moved on to bands like Roadhouse & Gogmagog.
Pyromania was a smash hit with singles "Photograph", "Rock of Ages" and "Foolin'" pushing sales to over 6 million in 1983 and went diamond. Mainstream rock & heavy metal consider the album a classic.
They opened for Billy Squier and headlined a concert at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego where 55,000 screaming fans came out to see them. In the US the group was more popular than the AC/DC, Journey & the Rolling Stones.
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|Def Leppard information
|Also known as
||glam metal, Heavy metal, hard rock, pop rock
||1977 – present
||Bludgeon-Riffola, Island, Mercury, Phonogram, PolyGram, Universal, Vertigo
|Members - Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell
|Former members - Frank Noon, Pete Willis, Steve Clark, Tony Kenning
Def Leppard Tickets
Spell it Def Leppard, Def Lepard, Def Leopard, or Deaf Leppard, but don't miss this tour.
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